Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner wants to lure another 26,000 people to Australia’s top end over the next decade and will spend $50 million encouraging them to head there.
People who move to the region would receive a $3000 cash payment towards relocation costs, doubling to $6000 for couples and $7000 for families.
An additional $1250 ‘local benefit bonus’ to spend on expenses such as vehicle registration or child care support would be paid after six months, while people who stay in the NT for five years continuously would see receive a bonus equal to the original payment, meaning a family could receive more than $15,000.
Releasing the Territory’s 10-year Population Growth Strategy today, the Labor leader said job creation was the government’s top priority and the region needed an additional 2600 people annually if they were going to create 21,000 extra jobs by 2028.
The plan will increase the Territory’s current population of 246,000 by more than 10%.
While the region covers 17.5% of Australia’s landmass, it’s home to just 1% of the national population and nearly 60% of those people live in Darwin, the capital.
Gunner believes it will generate an additional $10 billion in the economy over the next decade.
But the government’s challenge is that the Territory’s population growth rate has fallen to 0.6% of late, well below the historical long-run average of 1.4%.
Gunner said the NT Government will invest $50.4 million over the next two years on targeted population growth initiatives, including $13.8 million to attract and retain key target markets, including women and late career workers.
“More people making the Territory their home is the key to our bright future, and creating the best opportunities for future generations,” he said.
“This is a comprehensive, detailed plan to grow the Territory’s population and create local jobs.”
The government is launching a skilled migrant program in The Philippines later this month seeking workers in trade, hospitality, health and care, as well as international students.
The jobs on the priority list range from CEO to accountant, GP, pilot, hairdresser, uni lecturer, plumber and forklift driver.
Gunner has also pledged to revitalise the Darwin and Alice Springs CBDs, announcing $6 million in capital grants for Darwin on the weekend.
A “turbocharging tourism” plan is offering a $103 million tourism stimulus package over the next two years, to attract more visitors to the Top End.
World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park, less than three hours from Darwin, has seen visitor numbers fall by nearly 40% over the last 30 years, down from 300,000 annually in the late 1980s to around 185,000 today.
Jabiru, the mining town at the hub of Kakadu, and best known for the indigenous-owned Crocodile Hotel, is facing collapse with the looming closure of the Ranger uranium mine. The town has a $446 million revitalisation plan.
Registration for the bonus begin on November 1.
The 2018–2028 Northern Territory Population Growth Strategy is online here.
Here’s a snapshot of the Northern Territory’s demographics today from the strategy:
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